Divorce can affect your children. With a lot of uncertainty about changes that are happening, there is no way of knowing exactly how your child will cope. How can you be certain that you are supporting your child through this process?
Like all of us, each child is different and reacts to life’s endless rollercoaster in many different ways. Divorce is a major life hurdle for a child and needs to be managed confidently but delicately. The most important thing you need to do for your children is to ensure they feel loved, cared for and provide them with a sense of stability.
DA Family Lawyers Brisbane understands that this may be uncharted waters for many parents. It’s important to realise that many options and support systems are available to help you and your family navigate through such a difficult period.
How do I support my children through a divorce?
Unfortunately there isn’t a set rulebook you can follow in order to ensure your child will adapt to the family’s changes. There is however some general guidelines you can use to promote and prompt a healthy response, allowing your children to open up and express their feelings.
Don’t make it awkward. Avoid formally asking them how they feel about the divorce. We find an effective approach is to assure your children that they can talk to you about any feelings they are having, at any time. We also find that having any discussions about your separation are often best had when you’re both relaxed. For example, eating dinner together, on the way back from football/netball training and walking the dog are all great opportunities. We try to encourage the approach that formal family meetings are for reaching decisions instead of expressing feelings.
Listen closely. When your child tells you that they feel a certain way, try to pay close attention to what they are saying and how they are feeling, assure them that you, as the adult and parent, are here to support them and let them know that what they are feeling is important to you.
Seek to understand. The most important thing you can do is to say ‘I understand how you feel and I would feel the same way if I were in your shoes’. Assuring your children that the way they feel is normal will encourage them to share more of how they are feeling with you. Let them know it’s ok to feel sad; welcome their tears and emotion.
Centacare Family & Relationship services are providing the Children First program in Brisbane for 2014. Children First is a program designed for children between the ages of 5 and 13 who are adjusting to family life after separation or divorce. The program is fun and educational with the objective of helping children to understand and adapt to the significant changes in their family.
The program aims to address a number of issues through participation in creative activities. The objectives of the activities are to look at the changes that have occurred in their lives, explore their feelings and how to deal with how they feel.
Individual counselling can also be arranged for parents who want to explore the dynamics between them, their child and the other parent. If you are interested in attending the Children First program, you must register as soon as possible – spots are limited. Please note that registration closes one week prior to the program commencing.
Children First 2014 – School Holiday Program
Time: 10:00 am – 12 noon
Date: Monday – Friday | September 29th – 3rd October